(Gray News) - Auschwitz-Birkenau was once a Nazi death camp where 1.1 million people took their final breath.
Today, it is a museum and memorial in Oświęcim, Poland, that educates millions of visitors each year about the atrocities committed there long ago.
The grounds are sacred, and the museum would like tourists to keep that in mind while roaming around. Specifically, they want people to quit taking playful photos of themselves while using the train tracks leading to the former concentration camp as a balance beam.
“When you come to @AuschwitzMuseum remember you are at the site where over 1 million people were killed. Respect their memory. There are better places to learn how to walk on a balance beam than the site which symbolizes deportation of hundreds of thousands to their deaths,” the museum tweeted.
The museum said it won’t be banning photography. It just wants those who take photos to do so respectfully.
For more tasteful ideas, the museum directed people to its Instagram page.
Most reactions included praise for the museum for taking a stance and shock that it was even necessary.
“What have we become? Why even bother going to Auschwitz if you’re going to behave like you’re in an amusement park? Like you say, be there, think and store the meaning of this experience forever in your heart and mind,” a Twitter user said.
Even so, the memorial’s request was met with at least a little resistance.
One user said walking on the track symbolizes how far we’ve come and that the world is a better place than it was 75 years ago. He encouraged the museum to let people smile.
“Remembrance does not mean being solemn,” he tweeted.
The museum responded by saying, “Smiling is human. There are also human stories from #Auschwitz that can make people smile. You do not have to be solemn and stern all the time. Yet, there are some things which are simply disrespectful.”